SNL: S22E20... HOST: JEFF GOLDBLUM... DATE: MAY 17, 1997

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or...

A Quality Season Closer

With A Quirky Host At The Wheel

 

Though this was a fun episode, I’m still surprised that the show has yet to get to the point where they treat the season closer as if it were a legitimate finale. These end-of-the-year shows have no special cameo and don’t even reference the fact that the season is over. Other than my disappointment over the fact that this finale provided no closer, this episode gave me nothing to complain about.

As I said last time Jeff Goldblum was on, I love Jeff Goldblum and always wished he had a stronger connection to SNL. At this point in Goldblum’s career it seems that even though he was known to take on quirky roles, he toned down his craziness when making personal appearances. I feel that if he embraced his crazy side like he does now, he would be an even better quirky host than Christopher Walken.

I mean, this episode was really good with Jeff Goldblum using more of a traditional/subtle approach toward acting, but I could only imagine how much more fun this show would be if it tapped into the borderline insane edge that Goldblum now uses or even simple roles, including when he’s the spokesman in a commercial. As the episode stands, it was more fun in usual ways.

That said, this episode had a great blend of reoccurring sketches to where the writing didn’t feel like it was phoned in. Jeff Goldblum also had a great attitude and genuinely seemed to be having a blast throughout the entire night. As I’ve pointed out before, I would prefer to watch a bad episode with a host who has the right energy over a great show hosted by someone who I can’t stand. Thankfully, this episode was great with a host who had the right energy.

In fact, there were times where Goldblum seemed to be having so much fun that I couldn’t tell if his smile was part of the character or if he was holding in a laugh. Either way, his smile is infectious and lightened my mood in general which is the real reason I like these hosts who genuinely seem to enjoy their SNL experience.

Alright, enough rambling about Jeff Goldblum’s mood, it’s now time for me to shift gears and move on to share what I saw, as I give you…

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. This week's show started with a parody of Nightline where Darrell Hammond as Ted Koppel interviewed Mark McKinney as Bill Gate about whether or not we can trust computers following the recent loss by a chess champion to the Microsoft chess-playing computer, Deep Blue. He also interviewed the Unabomber from jail about the advancement of technology and reprimanded the chess player who lost as well, finishing the interview off by revealing he was strapped to a suicide bomb which led to the announcement of, “Live from New York…”
  2. Jeff Goldblum then officially opened the show with a monolog about how he was happy to be back hosting once again before going on to promote the second Jurassic Park. Halfway through talking about the film he was interrupted by Jim Breuer who couldn’t be stopped from showing off his deep collection of dinosaur impersonations.
  3. This was followed by a repeat of the Big Brawn Feminine Napkins commercial from earlier in the season which was a high powered feminine napkin that parodied the Brawny brand of paper towels.
  4. Mary Katherine Gallagher then returned to the show to fall in love with Jeff Goldblum as he portrayed one of her teachers who was moving on to teach at a new school since he was moving to Boston. During the sketch, we learned that both Jeff Goldblum and Mary Katherine Gallagher share many of the same nervous ticks so he doesn’t just flat out reject her which only added to the pain of the inevitable point where he had to push this under-aged girl away. Not to worry, before the scene could get too depressing, the two ended up falling through a table as the attempted to say their goodbyes.
  5. Space, The Infinite Frontier was a talk show sketch where Will Ferrell played Harry Caray to discuss space with Jeff Goldblum as a space expert. The conversation eventually led to Harry Caray talking about how he would eat the moon if it was made out of ribs following a bunch of other bizarre space facts.
  6. TV Funhouse then returned with another installment of Fun With Real Audio where this time they animated a segment from Sally Jessy Raphael to highlight the audience made up of talk show trash as a verbally abusive man wouldn’t lighten up when talking about his overweight wife.
  7. Goth Talk also returned for another installment where Chris Kattan and Molly Shannon hosted they Goth theme public access show where this time the two dark dressed and depressed hosts attempted to interview Jeff Goldblum who was there to promote his new indie Goth album that is so indie that it can only be purchased in Jeff’s garage. We also got to see Jeff’s attempt to make an angst-filled music video that was interrupted by a bunch of jocks.
  8. Once again, Norm MacDonald gave us the news. This week, Colin Quinn dropped in as Lenny The Lion in order to discuss the recent increase of weird going ons at the zoo, like animals escaping or attacking guests who jump into their exhibits.
  9. En Vogue then took to the stage to perform Don't Let Go. 
  10. Kennedy Kapers was a game show sketch where members of the Kennedy family competed to determine who was the biggest disgrace of the Kennedy clan.
  11. Larry King's News & Views was another show feature to return with Norm MacDonald as Larry King who continued to ramble on for his wannabe Andy Rooney-style commentary.
  12. Take This Job And Shove It! was a sketch where Ana Gasteyer’s angry employee character returned and this time she attempted to tell off her union boss only to get so flustered that, once again, you can only sense her frustration but her ranting was too unfocused to make heads or tails of what she was saying.
  13. Vic Ocasek's Rock & Roll Fantasy Camp was a sketch where Jeff Goldblum played a camp counselor of a rock-and-roll camp that only featured washed up, former rock stars.
  14. Jerry "Steve" Dave was a sketch where Tim Meadows met with Jeff Goldblum for a job interview only he was so laid back when answering the questions that it didn’t really seem like he was taking the interview serious at all.
  15. Larry King's News & Views was a follow-up segment to the Larry King sketch up above.
  16. Finally, Jeff Goldblum closed the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

This episode ended up being a great end to one of the best seasons that I’ve seen in a while, especially thanks to the help of these three of my favorite moments of the night. First, I loved Space, The Infinite Frontier because I love the crazy things Will Ferrell comes up with to say when he plays Harry Caray. Next, I really liked this week’s Goth Talk because it contained my favorite line “If I was born in the 17th century, I wouldn’t have to Turtle Wax the van.” Finally, I was a fan of this week’s Mary Katherine Gallagher’s segment because I liked how this week she wasn’t simply turned away and how we learned that Jeff Goldblum shared many of Gallagher’s quirks.

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Matt Bunker

I started out with a goal of becoming a paid screenwriter. I had no interest in any other aspect of filmmaking. I received and scholarship to The Vancouver Film School's Writing for Film and Television program where I graduated in 2005. I fell in love with being on set during my first non-school produced short, . I loved being around all the creative people, seeing people having fun while working. The whole liking your job was a new world to me, so I decided to give it a shot. I volunteered for any project I could, doing what ever was needed. The set was my Film School this time. While working as a PA on a feature I was informed that the DP wanted the three tallest PAs to help out in the grip and electric department. That is when I found the department that felt like the best fit for me while I continued to write.